“All Roads Lead To Rome And For Maximus, He Came, He Saw, He Conquered!”
September 1st, 2011
A story of discovery!
I was never fully aware of the genius who became as one of the most influential and greatest directors of all time; he gave us Blade Runner, Aliens, Black Hawk Down, Kingdom of Heaven and much more! It grants precedence on what projects that he was able to provide the audience, full of admiration as well as reflection every scene, instance, words uttered are given life in his comportment and it just astounds me every time I watch his films!
A hiatus was intended...marching on!
It all started with a painting and Ridley Scott never looked back! From a French history painter Jean-Léon Gérôme appropriately named Pollice verso which means "Thumbs Down", it signified the outcome of a fight where it makes a big difference from a swing of a sword, a throw of a spear or a shot from a bow that will decide your freedom or your untimely death!
The Arena, where gladiatorial combats commence; which partakes and signifies to what a meaningless, mindless form of entertainment that has become a part of culture that transcended into generations of bloodshed! This was actually part of history not just for Rome that only serves how people can be so wicked and inhumane!
A tale of betrayal, survival and redemption that came into full circle! One man's journey to regain his honour and integrity against a tyrant maliciously ascended to the throne without any compromise nor love for his country! It was out of his reach, a plan that was never meant to be, convoluted even more with his greed for power!
The story captures every single moment filled with unprecedented intrigue and packed with awesome fight scenes! Full of accolades and awards that favoured one of the best directed films of all time! Gladiator boasts its talent, extraordinary performances and in which famous lines were inserted to give more meaning to the talent that was brilliantly sublime!
"Your fault as a son is my failure as a father."
The late Richard Harris (Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone) as Caesar Marcus Aurelius. To think that reputation meant well for an intended purpose in his Empire, his family and his soldiers! His General who served him without flinching more so his uncontested loyalty was proven incessantly! He made a decision to both sons that have brought forth further anarchy to his homeland.
"What we do in life echoes in eternity!"
Academy Award Winner: Russell Crowe (American Gangster) as General Maximus. Serving his country was by far his main concern as per his duty to his King. How he encompasses his character being taken away from everything he had ever possessed and loved was truly virtuous in all aspect of the term.
He gave and captured its very essence of being set to the test draining every bit of his physical, emotional and mental capacity! In spite of these tribulations, he rose by standards like no other and paid homage to the people and his responsibility to give Rome, its people the meaning of existence. Remarkable indeed!
"It's a dream, a frightful dream... life is..."
Joaquin Pheonix (We Own the Night) as Commodus. Yes, even his line uttered exemplifies his character of being an unpleasant man and a coward! This guy seems so underrated but when you watch him perform you will definitely despise him or like his portrayal. Very profound on how he makes it worthwhile for us to see his emotions grasp the character he's in!
"Today I saw a slave become more powerful than the Emperor of Rome."
Connie Nielsen (The Devil's Advocate) as Lucilla. A sister, paramour (perhaps) and a daughter! The last time I saw Connie performed was in Devil's Advocate that was nothing compared to what she has given in this film. Torn between her family and her desire to be assist her former lover has aggravated the tension between the young Emperor and the Gladiator!
"Listen to me. Learn from me. I was not the best because I killed quickly. I was the best because the crowd loved me. Win the crowd and you will win your freedom."
The late Oliver Reed (Oliver) as Proximo. What can I say with this man? Fantastic! Every time he speaks his lines I applaud it for its intensity! I never realized how talented Oliver was not when I heard from Ridley and the casts own words of how much he puts in his portrayal. Here, he was easy to admire for the character he played was of the same route and his pride and empathy for his Gladiators shows how much he wanted his and their freedom!
To Oliver Reed, one of industry's best, died while still shooting in Morocco...keep the fire burning, God bless his soul!
Gladiator was meant to be a winner, to take the awards:
Russell Crowe - Best Actor
Douglas Wick, David Franzoni, Branko Lustig - Best Picture
Jancy Yates -Best in Costume Design
John Nelson, Neil Corbould, Tim Burke and Rob Harvey - Best in Effects, Visual Effects
Scott Millan, Bob Beemer, Ken Weston - Best Sound
Director Sir Ridley Scott has proven time and again his mastery over epic cinema that presents the finest in the business from casts to production teams that carried his banner throughout his career! Ridley always captures the most intricate things even the trivial ones that gives him reason to generate fervour and charisma in his undying stories!
He has once quoted that "Hollywood is an industry and not an art form". True, the former has a post code by which only sets its foundation on money and glamour while true films are made with genuine disposition. Even mere posters of his films deliver its simple and yet inspirational take on the main characters which does not need any obligated stances or exuberant Photoshop techniques ...the picture says it all and what the film is all about!
Set from the outskirts of Morocco, burning forests England, Malta the "land of honey" and seemingly idyllic Italy... beautifully shot by John Mathieson with breathe taking scenes and landscapes that indeed captured the scathed battlefields and the glory of Rome!
All I can say is, the film made a great impression providing a better outlook on sword and sandal epics which movie goers had been neglected for the past few years. Sir Ridley makes it happen repeatedly beyond doubt and it's always worth the wait!